The next two weeks in the Rockford Public School District may be trying. For the first time, a private company, SBM Maintenance, will be in charge of making sure the schools stay clean.
For at least the next five years SBM Maintenance will have a spot in the Board of Education building. Right now the main focus is hiring and making sure enough staff are in place come June 14.
SBM Maintenance Project Manager Jeff Schmidt says, "We'll be taking applications from now all the way up until the contract expires or they continue to renew it will be an ongoing process."
About 30 familiar faces will be returning to the district and possibly even returning to the school of their choice. Otherwise SBM will need 223 workers, the district only employed 186. During the debate to outsource school safety was an issue that came up over and over again.
Schmidt says, "Any concerns they had it should be the same as they've had before. The people still have to pass background checks, fingerprinting and drug screening."
Once SBM’s contract was signed other questions arose. Many wondered if events like PTO meetings, plays and other special events could even still be held.
Schmidt says, "If they give us information about the fact that they are going to have a meeting in this building, we'll make it available, so it can still happen and we still get what we need to get done. It's not a last minute oh, by the way."
One person will be in the school daily for any incidentals the second shift will take over from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Schmidt says he understands that this is a tough situation and asks that the community gives SBM a chance.
Applications can be picked up and filled out at the Rockford Board of Education office.